Tonight, I visited Barnesville for the first time in my life, even though it is only seventy-something miles from home. I spoke to a senior citizens dinner.

I didn't know what they wanted me to talk about. Gardening is always safe, even in the winter. It went well. Older people are always curious about gardening, so they had good questions and we had a good time.

Earlier in the day, I gave the second test of the semester to my history classes. Some students improved, others did not.

And one cheated. Brazenly. If only students knew how obvious it is when they cheat, they wouldn't try. Beware of anybody who makes frequent eye contact with the teacher during a test. They are checking out where you are looking for a reason.

As soon as I saw that this guy wanted to cheat, I sat so he couldn't see me. I could see when his hat popped up. That was when he was checking on me. Then I would see the hat turn to the side. That is when I would move my head so I could see him clearly looking at the papers next to him.

Luckily, I made two versions of the multiple choice test. Same questions, but the answers were in a different order. So, all his work was in vain. The guys next to him had a different test. He got less than 25% of the answers right, about what he would have gotten if he had thrown darts at the test instead.

He flunked, so perhaps I should leave it at that. My instincts would be to read him the riot act, but I just don't want to hear his lies. I am sure it would be something on the, "I bought the meth, but didn't use it" line.

The other option is to question him about some of his answers. I put a lot of nonsense answers in the choices, so he ended up asserting 1) that the Constitution was written in Halstad 2) that the Monroe administration was a period of "unlimited posterity" 3) that the economic Panic of 1819 was the result of high muffin prices, and 4) that the process by which the British filled out their shipping crews was not "impressment," but "elopement."

Not sure that would be worth the effort, either. I asked him as he left how he thought he did, and he said, "I think pretty good!"


Others did poorly and I know they worked hard. That means we have work to do. I hope they can improve on the final exam. I like to see people pull it out at the end. So, if they ace the final after flunking the first two tests, their grade will improve quite a lot.

Three students didn't show. One had no excuse, just wondered if she could make it up. Another had a root canal. Another had a sick kid. I'll let them take it Wednesday, I guess.